During the time that Maia, my wolf dog, started her transition to wanting to die, my 15-year-old cat, Joey Joe, was having kitty seizures. These look like episodes of drunkenness. He would stagger, lose his balance, become ravenous, and then fall asleep.
These seizures even caused his retinas to detach. Joey has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. This is a now-common cat disease thought to be caused by BPA, a sealant used in canned food. The symptoms of hyperthyroidism can be similar to diabetes, heart disease, and liver disease. (This explains why I was having recurring dreams of making a mistake and giving insulin shots to Joey instead of to his diabetic sister Makia.) Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats are: throwing up often, irrational fears, yowling (mostly at night), becoming hyper and then lethargic, weight loss, and rapid heartbeat or a heart murmur.
As soon as I put Joey on the pharmaceutical his seizures stopped but he started to walk around like a zombie. Because I can talk to Joey I felt confident playing around with his dosage. I lowered it. Joey got thin. Then I split the original dosage and administered it in two halves, twelve hours apart. Joey instantly gained weight and seemed better to the naked eye. I was happy, but Joey continued to talk about wanting to go to Maia.
Our conversations would go like this. Joey would say, “I want to go to heaven too. I have lots of friends there.” I would reply, “Joey, I can’t deal with another death. You are going to get better.”
“Mom, this stuff makes me feel terrible. I hate it. I don’t want to be on this medicine.” “Joey, you look so much better.”
“I hate it.”
A trip to our vet proved that two dosages a day is the best protocol. Joey’s T4 (the main thyroid hormone) levels are back to normal but a slight heart problem and an issue with his liver developed. I had heard of a holistic supplement that may work but it doesn’t work with pharmaceuticals. “Let’s start that today,” Joey said.
So I took him off the pharmaceutical. It retrospect, I should have weaned him off and then put him on the supplement.
“I feel so much better,” Joey says, after one dose of the supplement. Then two days in a row he throws up, and one night he yowls. I am paranoid he is going backwards. I ask, with a scrutinizing eye, “Are you okay? I think I saw you swagger and you’re eating a lot.”
“I am a little dizzy but I feel great.”
“Joey, I think I should put you back on the pharmaceutical.”
“I would rather die on this supplement than be alive on that medicine. Mom, just give it time.”
I obsessively weigh him, holding him why I step on the scale. “It doesn’t matter, Mom, I am never going back on that stuff.” This is one of those times I wish I couldn’t hear him. He would be on the pharmaceutical and I would think everything was great. As it is, I am constantly saying to myself, “What I should do?” and asking my friends for advice. “Do what your cat wants,” they all reply. The other animals in the house say, “Joey looked murky on the pharmaceuticals. He looks better now.” I have to agree.
Last night, Joey did not yowl or eat obsessively. I ask, “How do you feel this morning, Joey?” Joey rolls his eyes at me. He replies, “I am tired and I get dizzy sometimes, but I wonder if that is what happens when your body starts to die. I don’t understand why people want me to fight death by taking drugs that make me sick. Why not support my body with supplements that calm my nerves and give me a sense of peace. I am enjoying my life now. I am not hiding in the dark or feeling sick at every moment. I feel good. I may live more years or I may die tomorrow. I know you are sad because of Maia, but the good thing is I have family in heaven too. I am not scared to die.”